Jay Rodriguez may return from a nightmare injury lay-off to feature in Southampton’s last Premier League game of the season at Manchester City next month.
The England international is in line to play a part at the Etihad Stadium, where he suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament to his knee in Southampton’s 4-1 defeat last April.
Rodriguez has not featured since, but is set to take part in training sessions with the rest of the squad next week as he steps up his recovery.
However, manager Ronald Koeman says there is no rush to bring the former Burnley man back into contention and is willing to wait until next season.
“I hope that he can be part in one of the games, maybe the last one,” Koeman said. “It will be a tough one because it will be versus Manchester City and he got his injury against them.
“But the focus has to be on next season. If he is part of one or two games this season it will be great for him, great for his team-mates and great for the club.
“He’s putting everything in to coming back, but we’re not in a hurry, he has to be 100 per cent that’s most important.”
Despite being sidelined for a year, there have been rumours that Rodriguez could depart the St Mary’s Stadium, with City tipped as a potential destination.
But Koeman expects him to stay, adding: “I expect we don’t sell the player because the player didn’t play in my first season as the manager.
“He’s a good guy, a positive one, maybe he will be the best transfer for us next season.”
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